MeaningFULL

2 HODL a voice

A field journal on freedom of expression

We live in the age of social media, where technology has dissolved walls and borders to allow us to share part of our lives with our niche audiences.

At times, this means connecting with those who share similar views or who expand our understanding of the world. We connect with people we would have never met otherwise.

Unfortunately, sometimes it also means being open to non-constructive criticism and to a wide range of unhealthy communication.

It is at the latter, that people may feel concerned enough to quiet down their voices. This does not only happen online, it is also a reflection of the health of our own personal relationships.

Our voices are an expression of freedom. They allow us to share our thoughts and creativity beyond the vacuum of our lives. We should be grateful for it, and make it a practice to protect it.

Fireworks

Our minds and hearts are a constant show of fireworks filled with explosions of thoughts and feelings that light the stillness of our being.

As these words gather in an invisible space, they keep waiting for us to set them free. These authentic words filling our souls want to become the ink on a page, the sound that breaks the silence, the expression of who we are. They want to become our voice.

Grateful for words

Sometimes fleeting, sometimes said as if cast in stone.

Our words can be our greatest allies in

Sharing hope so fear cannot take root,

Showing kindness so hatred cannot be sown,

Creating an environment of respect and tolerance toward different points of view,

Allowing creative forces to join toward the common good,

Becoming a compass of love and gratefulness to guide us even on the most challenging of days, and

Giving you the freedom to be you.

Beyond Perfume Rare

Many years ago, I heard of a shop in Paris that could craft a rare perfume just for you. You'd be guided trough a multiple level process, selecting base scents to make up the different notes needed to create a custom parfum. The chances you'd have of selecting the same notes as someone else would be minute, but even if your choices were the same, its scent would be different once worn. Perfume reacts to the uniqueness of your body chemistry, and your chemistry fluctuates over time.

As rare as it seems to have your own custom perfume bottle, it pales in comparison to the magnificent diversity within humanity, so it is surprising to see the multiple ways of trying to fit people into a small set of perfect boxes, often unrealistic and unreachable.

Not only can we not become someone else who is as unique as each one of us, but we should question why we would want to. Even a clone could not be you, because he/she/they/ze could not have the same experiences you have had.

Many times, these categories and stereotypes are said to determine our fortune, but only based on quantifiable qualities used to measure you against others, turning fortune into an illusion of a triangle with just a few people fitting at the top.

Life, however, is more like a turning wheel of experiences, and our fortune rarely depends on where you are on the wheel nor which categories you happen to fit into.

Per fume

The word perfume, from the latin per fume, meaning "through smoke," can become our metaphor again, since many of the categories society signals as fortunate are like smoke we need to get through to understand the unquantifiable that makes us fortunate.

Fortune, according to society, can depend on where you were born, where you reside, intergenerational wealth, genetics, earnings, savings, investments, a diploma from a select school, excelling at your job, and many other norms on gender, race, sexual orientation, career, looks, religion, political affiliation, popularity...

If you tick all the right boxes, are you fortunate?
What if you don't? Are you still fortunate?


We may know people who check all the right boxes, but if you look into their lives, it feels as if they've created an unbalanced mixture of notes to their unique parfum.

They may feel unhappy, unfulfilled, or empty in a significant way, and they may have felt that for a long time. Perhaps they seek control and perfection, instead of embracing and appreciating the rawness and serendipity in life. Perhaps their time is overspent fitting in and underspent living and loving.

Perhaps they are afraid of feeling like outcasts and that diminishes their essence. Perhaps their lives keep on accumulating debt to try to keep up with what is considered fortunate.

Perhaps they're constantly feeling dragged into a myriad of notifications flashing on their screens, and they have gotten used to reacting to them and measuring their self-worth from them.

Perhaps their time is lost to the mundane, the popular, the urgent, the profitable, etcetera, at the expense of something meaningful like health or family.

Likewise, you may know people who do not check any of the right boxes, and perhaps they are fortunate in many other ways we cannot measure.

They may have a strong and defined sense of purpose, from years of trial and error. Perhaps they can find courage when facing the multitude of challenges and barriers life presents.

Perhaps they have the strength to feel vulnerable but at the same time not feel victims of their circumstances. They may know the power of non-violent communication and of creating a supportive healthy environment.

They may consciously step outside their bubble to understand how the world is unfair or how it lacks in judging substance. Perhaps they have grown a level of empathy guiding them to be kind and fair to others, because they understand human struggles, but also human strengths.

Self-confidence balanced with humility and gratitude may be a constant in their lives, not because it is easy, but because they have learned the importance of having a voice and giving something back to life, even when it takes away.

Perhaps they are the kind of people who can make you smile when you're going through a rough time, and only they have noticed what you're going through.

Perhaps their time is not lost, it is mindfully placed with the heart as a compass, and the mind as a foundation.

Perhaps they love to learn, and understand that mistakes are intertwined with learning. Unlikely to seek perfection, perhaps they are curious about life, because sometimes, in the oddest of moments, we can discover love, hope, meaning, deep joy...

Each one of us holds an invisible unquantifiable strength. It is up to each one of us to decide whether to try to fit into unsuitable boxes and perfect bottles, or to remove the smoke and reach for the magic within. Our fortune depends on how we choose to live from the inside out.